The US Treasury on Monday sanctioned four Ukrainians who aided President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani in an election campaign to defame Democrat Joe Biden.
Former Ukrainian government officials Konstantin Kulyk, Oleksandr Onyshchenko, Andriy Telizhenko and current Ukrainian lawmaker Oleksandr Dubinsky have been called in as part of an effort led by “Russian agent” Andrii Derkach to undermine Biden’s presidential race, said the Treasury.
All four were in touch or met Giuliani in late 2019 as he sought to gather evidence that President-elect Biden and his son Hunter were involved in corruption in Ukraine.
This effort was made as Trump himself was indicted for his own allegedly corrupt use of political pressure on the Ukrainian government to sully the Bidens.
Working with the already sanctioned Derkach, the four “coordinated the dissemination and promotion of fraudulent and unsubstantiated allegations involving a US political candidate,” the Treasury said.
“They have made repeated public statements to promote accounts of disinformation that US government officials have engaged in corrupt deals in Ukraine. ”
The Treasury also blacklisted three other Derkach collaborators and four Ukrainian media companies that Derkach was using to “spread false stories,” the Treasury said.
Derkach played a significant role in Trump-Giuliani’s efforts to attack Trump’s main electoral rival, former Democratic Vice President Biden, in 2019, a year before the election.
Giuliani traveled to Ukraine and met Derkach and his team, appearing with Derkach on the pro-Trump One America News Network to present a concocted story about the Bidens who were engaged in corruption in the Eastern European country. ‘East.
Giuliani continued to use these meetings and the material they generated to attempt to smear Biden until 2020 until the Treasury imposed sanctions on Derkach in September, labeling him as a Russian intelligence agent.
Kulyk, a district attorney until he was sacked in late 2019, was behind a purportedly proven seven-page dossier of the Bidens’ “crimes” that were used by Giuliani and Trump supporters in the Congress to hit the Democrat.
Onyshchenko is a former senior politician and lawmaker who fled into exile when he was expelled in 2016 on corruption allegations.
Telizhenko is a former Ukrainian diplomat who traveled with Giuliani as he sought to promote the Biden corruption allegation.
Dubinsky currently sits in the Ukrainian parliament and met Giuliani in December 2019.
The sanctions are aimed at freezing all assets held by blacklisted individuals under US jurisdiction.
The sanctions also bar U.S. businesses and individuals from doing business with them, an effort primarily to exclude them from the global financial system.
“Russian disinformation campaigns targeting American citizens are a threat to our democracy,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
© 2021 AFP